By By André Dumont
By By André Dumont
The gold medal goes to . . . Ferme St-Ours! Quebec’s most prestigious agricultural honour was recently awarded to one of the province’s most forward-thinking poultry farms.
Located in St-Ours, southeast of Montreal, the farm produces regular and organic eggs, as well as maple products and sunflower oil.
The Ordre national du mérite agricole was started in 1890 to recognize farms for outstanding management. A candidacy may be submitted only every five years, as the contest rotates between five regions.
Ferme St-Ours is owned by Serge Lefebvre, his spouse Martine Bourgeois and her sister Chantal Bourgeois.
Lefebvre is an agronomist and the current president of Quebec’s egg producer union, the Fédération des producteurs d’œufs de consommation. Also an agronomist, Martine Bourgeois works as a nutritionist with Shur-Gain.
In 1993, the sixth generation to farm on the same site decided to let go of dairy farming in order to focus on poultry. The farm now employs 25 workers and has four locations: Ferme St-Ours (eggs and maple sugar), Ferme des Patriotes (organic eggs), Ferme Avistar and Ferme Avitech.
The farms include 200 hectares of land, all organic. Wheat, corn, soybean and sunflower are grown and used to produce organic feed and also products for human consumption.
Despite working in a supply-management context, the owners believe strongly in marketing niche products. They offer white and brown omega-3 eggs, free-range eggs, organic eggs, a variety of organic maple syrup products and organic sunflower oil.
Direct marketing makes for a special contact with consumers. The farm’s store is open seven days a week, from 8 to 11 a.m., at 2382, chemin des Patriotes, in St-Ours. A website showcases all products, with detailed information about the farm’s values: www.fermestours.ca.